When it isn’t leadership!

Time and again the Canadian Government has asserted it plays a leadership role in international climate change negotiations.  A blatantly inaccurate claim – unless winning the Fossil of the Year Award is “leadership”.

At last year’s COP 20 Conference in Lima Canada Canada’s Minister of the Environment continued to make specious statements about Canada’s leadership.  Canadian observers at the Conference were embarrassed.

In her recent letter dated March 6th 2015, this Minister apparently abandoned this claim of leadership. Perhaps because a great majority of the Canadian people don’t believe it!  Or perhaps because the Minister is attempting to lower expectations of Canada’s performance in the lead up to December COP21 meeting. Given Canada’s low standing in the international community, we don’t expect that the leadership claim will re-surface at Paris.

Her letter is an example of a second tactic sometimes employed by the Canadian Government. Her letter does not tell the whole truth.  As an example, this paragraph comments about GHG emissions:

“Canada’s approach is generating results.  Our economy has grown substantially while greenhouse gas emissions have decreased.  Canada’s per capita emissions are now at their lowest level since tracking began in 1990.”

The reference to the low level of per capita emissions is accurate but of no real significance.

In 2009 Canada was ranked 9th in the world for total country emissions.  At Copenhagen countries including Canada undertook to reduce their total emissions.  Specifically Canada’s undertook to reduce its total GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. 

Canada is not on track to reduce its total emissions as the Conservative Government promised at Copenhagen and without strong measures Canada will not even come close!

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